HB 1841, introduced by Delegate Mark Keam, was enacted into law pursuant to the 2021 Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly (see Chapter 130 of the Acts of Assembly, 2021 Special Session 1). The legislation directs the Commissioner of Highways or his designee to convene a Working Group (WG) comprised of relevant stakeholders to determine if there should be model policies for the design and installation of crosswalks in Virginia and if so, to identify recommendations for such model policies. As previously reported, VACo worked to make the bill friendlier to local governments and was a participant in the subsequent workgroup. The House Bill 1841 Working Group report has now been published. It can be found on the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)’s website under 2021 studies and reports, or can be downloaded directly by clicking here. The report is also published on the Virginia Legislative Information System (search for 2021 reports by the Commissioner of Highways).
VDOT owns, operates, and maintains most roads in counties, except for Arlington and Henrico Counties. Note that this makes VDOT somewhat unique among state DOTs because in most other states, secondary roads and subdivision streets are maintained at the local level. In Arlington and Henrico Counties, secondary roads are maintained by the County while primary roadways and interstates are maintained by VDOT. Some counties in densely populated parts of the state have a county-level DOT even though they do not own their roadways. These county DOTs work closely with VDOT to design, fund, and implement improvements on VDOT roadways, but VDOT remains the ultimate decision-making authority and is responsible for ongoing maintenance. There are a small number of exceptions to this, such as some VDOT districts assigning installation and maintenance responsibilities for some county-requested pedestrian crossing improvements, such as Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs).
A transportation agency’s decisions are based on its available resources, business practices, and location context, which can vary significantly across agencies. VDOT operates the third-largest state-maintained highway system in the country with 57,867 miles of state-maintained roadways in its network. As stated previously, Henrico County (1,279 miles) and Arlington County (359 miles) maintain their own roads.
VACo thanks Delegate Keam, VDOT, and the other participants of the workgroup for their efforts to develop model policy for crosswalk design and implementation that preserves local control and flexibility in this area where appropriate.
VACo Contact: Jeremy R. Bennett